Kentucky has had plenty of good news this week for a team not in the NCAA Tournament. One day after breaking the school record for draft picks, UK announced that sophomore pitcher Zack Thompson was named to the USA Baseball Collegiate National Team. Thompson is the first UK player named to the Collegiate National Team since Evan White in 2016.
Being named to Team USA is one of the highest honors a college baseball player can receive. In recent years, future MLB players like Alex Bregman, Dansby Swanson, and Kris Bryant have played summer ball for Team USA.
There are few pitchers in college baseball as talented as Thompson. The sophomore lefty was a freshman All-American in 2017 after winning eight games and striking out 96 batters. Thompson missed a large chunk of the 2018 season with a flexor injury but still managed to strike out 42 batters in 31 innings. Despite being banged up for his sophomore season, Thompson is projected as a top ten pick in the 2019 MLB draft. This summer will allow Thompson to take on top-tier competition from across the world before he assumes the ace role for UK in 2019.
The Collegiate National Team will play series against Chines Taipei, Japan, and Cuba beginning on June 28th and continuing through July 18th.